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Aurora Prize laureate Aung to donate US$ 1 mln award money

PTI

Washington

An activist who has spent 40 years fighting for Rohingya rights in Myanmar will donate US$ 1 million, he received as prize money for his work, to provide medical aid and assistance to around 3,75,000 Rohingya refugees staying across South East Asia.

More than 7,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s violence hit Rakhine state to neighbouring Bangladesh since August when the military intensified crackdown against alleged militant outfits of Rohingya Muslims.

Some have also fled to Malaysia.

Aurora Prize laureate Kyaw Hla Aung, also a noted lawyer, on Tuesday announced he would donate his US$ 1 million award money towards humanitarian relief work among Rohingya refugees.

He was given the award this year for his fight against injustice and advocating on behalf of the Rohingya people.

The money will be distributed among three international organisations — Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) and MERCY Malaysia — providing medical aid and assistance to Rohingya refugees across South East Asia, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative (AHI) has announced.

MSF UK will receive US$ 400,000, while MERCY Malaysia and the ICMC USD 300,000 each. This initiative will benefit around 3,75,000 Rohingya refugees, a media release said.

The AHI, founded on behalf of the Armenian Genocide survivors, seeks to help those in urgent need of basic humanitarian aid.      MSF is directing the funds to further advance the emergency response in the Balukhali Makeshift Settlements in Bangladesh, the AHI said.

The organisation estimates that it will benefit approximately 2,50,000 Rohingya refugees, it said.          MSF has hugely increased its operations in response to the unfolding of the humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar where several Rohingyas, who fled their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, are living.

“Our team of more than 2,000 staff is running 10 health posts, four primary health centres (open around the clock), and five inpatient health facilities (providing 24-hour secondary healthcare).

“This potential support comes at a crucial time, especially as the Monsoon season approaches and with it the likelihood of devastating flooding and landslides in the camps,” MSF executive director Vickie Hawkins said.

The ICMC is allocating its share of the Aurora funds to two initiatives directed at empowering Rohingya refugees in Klang Valley and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia .

It also aims at improving damaged infrastructure at the Kutupalong Camp settlement in Bangladesh. The ICMC estimates that over 20,000 people will benefit from these projects.

“We would use the Aurora award to advance our work with Rohingya and other refugees in Malaysia and elsewhere,” Secretary General, ICMC, Monsignor Robert J Vitillo, said

MERCY Malaysia will use its share of the funds to provide primary and maternal health care, and operational support to Rohingyas by collaborating with the Rakhine State Health Department in the Sittwe IDP camps and Kyauktan village.

MERCY Malaysia estimates that over 1,00,000 Rohingya people will benefit from this
initiative.

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